Tag Archives: V-22

V-22s But No Air Force One

wpid13566-AU0E8853.jpgThe President was visiting the Bay Area for a couple of days recently. This meant the arrival of Air Force One, the VH-3D helicopters, the C-17s to transport them and the V-22s that support the VH-3Ds. What more could an aviation guy want? I took a look at the temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) listed online to see when the airspace was going to be shut down. When the president flies, the airspace around him is shut down for security purposes. These closures are published (otherwise, how would the other pilots know not to fly) so it means we know when to expect things to happen.

Sadly, the arrival was on a day I was at work and was timed to come in to SFO around sunset so, even if I could be there, there was a chance that the light would have gone. (As it was, the arrival was just before the light went completely and a friend of mine did get some good shots.) The departure, on the other hand, was scheduled for Saturday morning. That I could manage. I figured that getting there early would be wise since I would not be the only one trying this so getting somewhere to park might be tricky. Plus, if they went early in the slot, I wanted to be ready.

wpid13562-AU0E8673.jpgI checked the TFR the night before and got up early the next morning. I had some breakfast and headed out. I arrived in plenty of time but did need to park quite a distance away. I got to the bayshore trail and found a few other guys with cameras. However, word quickly reached me that he had gone. I bumped into a friend of mine and he told me that he had checked the TFR earlier that morning and saw that it had been brought forward. He rushed out and got there just in time. I arrived about 20 minutes after they took off. Curiously, as I had been driving across the San Mateo bridge, I had seen a large jet airborne near the airport and wondered. Now I knew.

There was a silver lining to this disappointment. With Air Force One safely on its way, the V-22s were free to head out. The three of them took off in close succession and turned in our direction to head off down the peninsula. They didn’t come terribly close but I did get my first shots of them since they replaced the CH-46s that used to provide support. (Many moons ago I did see the CH-53Es that used to be undertake this role. They looked fantastic!)


Fleet Week

wpid11884-AU0E3898-Edit.jpgFleet Week in San Francisco was something I had been looking forward to since moving here. The air display over the bay had looked great in shots I had seen from previous years and that combined with the parade of naval ships sounded good. Sadly, things didn’t quite go to plan. The parade of ships happened but there weren’t very many of them so it was not a huge parade. Then the flying started but, with cloud cover coming in from the Golden Gate, the flying tended to be pushed farther into the bay and away from us.

wpid11888-AU0E4006.jpgWe did get a couple of V-22s doing a tour of the bay before the real flying display kicked off and the weather improved for Fat Albert’s part of the Blue Angels’ performance. However, the cloud came right back and the Blues did a few orbits above the clouds over us and then gave up. Apparently the weather was better on the following days but I could not be there for that so I missed out. However, I got to spend the day with a couple of friends so it was still better than being at work!

Marine Week

wpid10983-AU0E6829.jpgEn route from a day with a client to the airport I had a spare hour to pay a visit to Boeing Field in Seattle. I figured that my time window would mean there was nothing much to see and I didn’t have anything longer than the 24-105 with me anyway. However, when I got there I could see an interesting collection of USMC machines on the opposite side of the field and the Blue Angels were parked up near the Museum of Flight.

wpid10985-AU0E6834.jpgI took a ride around to where the Marine helicopters and V-22 were parked and got chatting to one of the crews. He explained it was the start of Marine Week and offered a chance to walk around the ramp with one of the crew. I was not going to refuse that. Mario kindly showed me around and let me shoot anything external. They had three UH-1Y Venoms and three AH-1Z Cobras along with a single V-22. One fof the Cobras was marked up in special squadron colors. I took a walk around all of them and grabbed a few shots while chatting with Mario about what it was like to support these machines. He had worked on the UH-1N before converting to the Venom so he had some interesting perspectives on the relative reliability of the two.

wpid10989-AU0E6839.jpgThese machines were going to be progressively moved across to the other side of the field as part of the public displays for Marine Week and the first of the Cobras actually was towed while I was there so my timing was excellent. However I did have to go and then my timing let me down as, while I was driving away, I saw an AV-8B Harrier II coming down the approach. Oh well. I still did better than I had expected.

ISAP Field Trip – Part 2

We all gathered outside the Air and Space Museum to get on the buses for the second part of the trip.  A few people got on the opposite bus to the one that they had come on.  This apparently was a problem from a security perspective since our next stop was to be the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar.  It would transpire that some would be glad they got back on their original bus before too long.

Miramar is a short drive north of San Diego.  Now it a Marine Corps base, Miramar has operated under the control of a number of services through its life.  It is probably most famous and the center of US Navy fighter operations in the 1980s when Top Gun was filmed there.  Fightertown USA now is home to some marine F/A-18 Hornets as well as a lot of V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft.  These have now almost completely replaced the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter with the marines at Miramar.

We were to be hosted by one of thes tilt rotor squadrons.  However, first we had to get there!  As we headed up the freeway, the bus suddenly went rather quiet.  We coasted to a halt, our driver/comic hopped out, disappeared around the back and before too long we were on our way again.  This was not to last though.  Very soon we repeated the process and this time we were sitting on the shoulder of the freeway.

One errant bolt apparently was killing the cooling fan and the engine, in full self preservation mode, was shutting down before any damage could be done.  To add insult to injury, we were actually in sight of the base.  While a rescue plan consisting of a mechanic to fix the bus and the other bus making a return trip to pick us up was put into effect, we got to stand on the side of the freeway and watch the Hornets bashing the pattern.

Eventually we were on our way and got to join the rest of the party in the Officers’ Club at Miramar.  There was food left for us and fortunately nobody decided to try and do any Top Gun song routines in the club.  With a little compression of the time at lunch, we were able to get back on schedule.  Off we went to the squadron.

We were given access to the squadron hangar (at least most of us were until the security gate got over its concern about how many people were coming in and locked a bunch outside for a while).  There were a couple of aircraft in the hangar we had access to shoot and the doors were open to the ramp although we couldn’t venture outside.  Plenty of Ospreys were out on the ramp and there was some flying activity.  A Super Stallion also came in and some Hornets and and Orion were also flying in the distance.

The sun was out and the vast expanse of concrete was throwing up a lot of heat haze.  This frustrated any attempts to shot anything too far away but there was still plenty to look at.  Unfortunately, as our time was running out, we gathered together for the group shot.  Just at this point a bunch of aircraft returned.  The security minders were most insistent that we stop shooting and head to the group photo which was a bit of a shame but never mind.

After the group shots it was back to the buses for the final part of the day’s fun.  Another installment will be forthcoming soon…